Friedrich Nietzsche’s Master Morality In 1844, to a Lutheran pastor in Rӧcken, Saxony, a son named Friedrich Nietzsche was born. After his father’s death in 1849, he was raised by his female relatives. He began studying theology to take after his father, but abandoned that path and specialized in philology at Bonn and Leipzig. In 1887 he wrote Zur Geneologie der Moral (On the Genealogy of Morals) where he bitterly decried the slave morality enforced by social sanctions and religious guilt. He also described what he terms as master morality, stating that only rare, superior individuals-the noble ones, or Übermenschen-can rise above all moral distinctions to achieve a heroic life of truly human worth (Kemerling). It is Nietzsche’s master morality that I will focus on and attempt to justify my beliefs in this philosophy through examples.
“Nietzsche argued that there are two fundamental types of morality: ‘Master morality’ and ‘slave morality’. Slave morality values things like kindness, humility, and sympathy, while master morality values pride, strength, and nobility. Master morality weighs actions on a scale of good or bad consequences unlike slave morality which weighs actions on a scale of good or evil intentions. What he meant by ‘morality’ deviates from common understanding of this term. For Nietzsche, a particular morality is inseparable from the formation of a particular culture. This means that its language, codes and practices, narratives, and institutions are informed by the struggle between these two types of moral valuation” (Wikipedia).
“Nietzsche defined master morality as the morality of the strong-willed by saying “For these strong-willed men, the ‘good’ is the noble, strong and powerful, while the ‘bad’ is the weak, cowardly, timid and petty. The essence of master morality is nobility. Other qualities that are often valued in master moralities are open-mindedness, courage, truthfulness, trust and an accurate sense of self-worth.” “The noble type of man experiences itself as determining values; it does not need approval; it judges ‘what is harmful to me is harmful in itself’; it knows itself to be that which first accords honour to things; it is value-creating” (Nietzsche 39). In this sense, the master morality is the full recognition that oneself is the measure of all things. Insomuch as something is helpful to the strong-willed man it is like what he values in himself; therefore, the strong-willed man values such things as “good.” Masters are creators of morality; slaves respond to master-morality with their slave-morality” (Wikipedia).
I honestly believe that this philosophy has much truth to it, as does his philosophy of slave morality. I was raised in church in my younger years, but went away from religion as I grew into adulthood. Although I did accept religion as a viable dogma to cling to when I was younger, as I grew older and drifted away from it I realized that good things still happened even though I wasn’t active in religion. I had many successes in my adulthood years when I took no part in religion at all. This began to make me question whether religion is necessary for a successful, happy life as I had been taught as a child. The longer I was separate from religion, the more aware I became that it was not required to be successful or happy.
I want to emphasize that I am not opposed to religion, I just don’t feel that it is necessary in my life. My wife and daughter attend church regularly, and my daughter goes to a private Christian school. This is not because I want her to be taught religion, but because we are not capable of home-schooling and we believe the private school provides a better education than the public school system. I believe there are many good lessons and values learned through the church as a young person, aside from the theological teachings they promote in their dogma.
Nietzsche, however, did not believe humans should adopt…